Haute n the Kitchen

Entertaining Inspired by my Travels & Traditions

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It’s no secret that when it comes to landscaping and indoor container gardens, Succulents have my heart. While they don’t tout many bragging rights on their heady aromas and perfumes; they do WIN when it comes to texture and the ever coveted “cool” points. I have to think Dr. Seuss had something to do with their discovery and ever-growing popularity.

For me, there is another reason succulents have such appeal. I wasn’t even born with a hint, an essence of a green thumb. I can, and have, killed pretty much any kind of house plant. All of my attempts at outdoor landscaping just resulted in a lot of sweat and cash spent! There was the one infamous garden planting session in TX when I planted wild deers’ favorite foods. Gone in less than 60 seconds.

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My move back West has rekindled my love fair with succulents. They just don’t fair as well in the NE 😉

California however, has taken it to a new level that TX cannot even compete with. Stick with your tumbleweeds and tarantulas for WOW factory. Cali takes it in succulents.

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Every day I stumble off a sidewalk while eyeing some new succulent sensation! Today, I got to thinking about whether they are edible. Why? Ms. Sula decided to take a little nosh on a few leaves of a just sprinkler showered succulent. Mild panic set in. Would Sula be poisoned by the one thing on earth I haven’t killed in the plant world? Plant Karma had come for me.

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I took a snap of the “death by succulent” and rushed home to Google. To my surprise succulents are largely EDIBLE! That’s right. The ole cactus isn’t just good enough for tequila. You can eat it!

So, my mind got to thinking about how beautiful a Succulent Salad would be. Lightly drizzled in a zesty lemon viniagrette. A pinch of salt & pepper. Really doesn’t need much dressing up as beautiful as they are alone.

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Please note that I have not researched every one of these plants, so don’t go making a salad without doing your homework too! (There is my disclaimer.)

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If you are way more educated on this subject, leave comments and let us know which of the desert beauties taste the best!

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IMG_1171Monday was MLK Day and 80 degrees in Newport Beach. Both of those things said to me that I really needed to take a day off and stick my toes in the sand. Since having moved here in mid-November, I have yet to actually have a REAL beach day.

Ya know, where you pack a colorfully striped seagrass bag with a blanket, a great book, a picnic, sunscreen, a big floppy hat and a split of Prosecco, of course.

Eating at the beach is truly an art form.

First, you have to be sure whatever you take is going to remain fresh tasting after being in the sun for a few hours.

Second, nobody likes a picnic full of sandy food so sealed containers are super important.

Third, when its hot and the sun is beating down on me I only want to eat something that is refreshing and hydrating. Meatball Subs at the beach are NOT sexy.

So I made a quick and easy salad with fresh mangoes, chopped jalapeno, fresh Italian parsley (cilantro would work too), chopped red pepper – all tossed in a fresh lime ponzu vinaigrette. The jalapeno balances the sweetness of the mango. The red pepper adds color and crunch. The parsley tames the jalapeno and is a nice herbaceous note. The lime keeps the flavors fresh and the ponzu is well, just a really good idea.

So the only last thing to decide before stepping out the door was what book to bring. My dear friend, Alison, gave me Provence 1970 for Christmas and I had just started it over the weekend. I was immediately taken with the premise of the book and was eager to get more stuck in.

Decision made. I was going to have a beach day with Julia Child, James Beard and MFK Fisher! I am only about 30 pages in now but totally taken with it. Find myself going to bed earlier and earlier so I can read more. Has anyone finished it yet? Its written by the nephew of MFK Fisher based off of all her journals he found. Its going to be a must read for foodies I can already tell. I love historical novels and one that is based on some of the greatest chefs in history is so right up my alley.

As the sun began to set and a chill started to creep across the beach, I packed up my picnic and took a long stroll along the shoreline. There has been one consistent here in Corona del Mar, every single day, and that is a breathtaking sunset. If you follow me on Instagram (HauteHeather13),  you too, can enjoy them. Armchair style.

Get the book. Make the yummy salad if you live in a warm climate. Copy paste it for a few more months in you live in my long last Brooklyn. Won’t keep you warm this winter even with the jalapeno.

PS. #tanlines!

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I am only 22 days late in Wishing you ALL a very Happy New Year!

Hey, its been a busy start, cut me some slack.

2013 brought some very big changes to my life, well at least my location in life anyway. I trades skyscrapers for sand castles and have not regretted that decision a single second. There is a big snow storm in NYC and while it does sound romantic to be cuddled in front of a fire watching the flakes fall; I am much happier to know I will be walking the beach this evening in a Tshirt, as the sun sets over the Pacific ocean.

CA is a strange unique place to live for sure and just like I did when I moved to Brooklyn; I am getting a quick education on the things I need to be up on and aware of out here. This will be the subject of a few blogs to come. I can tell you that I never knew how important it is for one to have a spiritual mentor and a dedicated yoga guru. 😉 Oh and avocados have never tasted so GOOD!

The BIG looming question out there that you all keep asking is “Did Supper Club move to CA as well?” I am still deciding that but the scales are tipping in one direction. Stay tuned.

Here we are 2014! A new year gives us all the opportunity to reassess and reevaluate our lives from the simplest things as redecorating a room to redesigning our life plan. Are our careers still inspiring us daily? Are we contributing enough time and energy to family and friends? Should we be eating more dark leafy greens and taking fish oil supplements? Whatever your questions are…now is the time. NOW is always the time because it waits for noone. So grab hold of my hand and lets show 2014 what we are made of! xo
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Categories: Eat

4am on the West Coast. Sula has to go out. Never happens so it must be urgent. No leash. In my pajamas. Hair like birds nest.
It is complete silence. Except. Crashing Pacific Ocean waves. Like a mantra over and over.
Close eyes, feel salty mist, hear a distant sea lion bark. Remind myself these are my new sounds. No trains, sirens, dump trunks or dumpster divers.
I must be dreaming.

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Categories: Eat

Cut me a little slack for just getting around to sharing with you the wonderful July 20th farm to table dinner at the Martyn House. Not only did I have to drive back to NYC with dog and BFF in tow, the BFF stayed for another week which seriously cut into any extra blogging time I might have had.  I think it’s a bit more delicious to revisit it after some time has passed anyway. Its sort of like leftovers. Way better after the flavors have had time to bond for a day or two.

As I am still easing back into the writing portion of my blog, I will let the images of the evening do the talking. Having a hard time finding my new voice. I feel a lot more, shall we say, “cautious” in my words. A bit guarded but somehow I see this as a good thing I have learned over the past two years. There is something to be said about leaving a little mystery on the plate. Maybe it was turning 40 and realizing that I no longer needed approval. Maybe I just want to hold some things closer to my heart, which means sharing less of them. We shall see where the road is going to take us; but for now it’s headed to Ellijay GA for a 5 course farm to table dinner that screamed of Summer.

The theme was a Summer Clam Bake, Southern Style. We started with a gorgeous evening with a fresh mountain breeze, 30 hungry guests and an amuse bouche of Summer Succotash! Each course was either paired with a Wine option OR one of Rick’s home Brews. First time we have done the beer pairing and what a Hit!

A "beachy" feel to the table setting where 30 gathered

A “beachy” feel to the table setting where 30 gathered

Nothing says Summer like a fresh Succotash with fresh peas, baby tomatoes, corn, herbs from the garden and tangy goat cheese.

Sumptuous Succotash!

Sumptuous Succotash!

Its hard not to get in the feel of Summer when you are gathered at a communal table covered by a Gypsy Faire Tent. In keeping with July, we went with the Biltmore Tent in all Blues…

Biltmore in Blue

Biltmore in Blue

Next course was a chilled Watermelon Salad with Mint marinated Feta Cheese and a Sweet Balsamic vinaigrette

Sweet, Savory, Mint ...Plates came back Empty!

Sweet, Savory, Minty …Plates came back Empty!

For the next course I had seared off gorgeous GA Banks Scallops and then let them rest at room temperature. They met with a tangy little Green Apple, Celery, Lemon and Basil Salsa. Very flirty she was. That tart fresh salsa was the perfect match for the rich flavor of the scallop. Match made in Heaven.

A Taste of a GA Summer

A Taste of a GA Summer

Dusk had settled in and as I served the main course; the table was alive with conversations as once strangers were now laughing and sharing stories and reminding me of why I do this.

A Gypsy Faire Tent by night is a sight to behold.

A Gypsy Faire Tent by night is a sight to behold.

Main course was a GA Shrimp, Clam, Andouille Sausage Bake with fresh Corn and Baby Red Bliss Potatoes. Drawn butter of course and homemade Hush Puppies. A Southern Girl’s must have.

Enough Said.

Enough Said.

Best for last? Perhaps! Dessert was a little play on Strawberry Shortcake. I made Sweet Cornbread Muffins with honey and fresh Ginger and toppled sweet Strawberries and GA Peaches on top macerated in a wee bit of sugar and then topped with fresh whipped full cream. Plates might have been licked. 😉 Post Dinner we all gathered around the roaring bonfire. We missed you there.

Peach & Strawberry Cornbread Shortcakes!

Peach & Strawberry Cornbread Shortcakes!

“Love is to the heart what the Summer is to the Farmers Year – It Brings to Harvest all the Loveliest Crops of the Soul”…. Unknown Author

I can’t even address the fact that its August 8th and I am just now writing about it being Summertime here in NYC. I am taking the European perspective on this and saying that Summer really only arrives in August. Play along with me, won’t you?

I could go into a lengthy diatribe about all the wonderful things I have filled my last few months with from vanilla ice cream with sprinkles, street fairs and BBQs to long runs in the parks and lazy days at the beach. I will spare you the details and rather take you on a photographic walk back into May, June and July.

Memorial Day Menu

Memorial Day BBQ Menu – Arugula, Blood Orange, Pomegranates, Candied Pecans, Red Onion Honey Soy Vinaigrette

I kicked off the Summer with a BBQ in my garden.

Vinho Verde in the Garden

Vinho Verde in the Garden

Then there was a party in a friends garden!

A Gypsy Faire Tent covered the affair!

A Gypsy Faire Tent covered the affair!

There were a few lazy Saturdays with fresh farmers market coffee, flowers and a good read…

Summer Sundays!

Summer Sundays!

Next I whisked off to India for 10 days of work where I was pleasantly inspired by vibrant colors, large than life prints and tantalizing textiles. Extra bag home? Yes indeed.

Nearly scraped this wallpaper off at Good Earth to carry home!

Nearly scraped this wallpaper off at Good Earth to carry home!

Soft Summer Quilts in gorgeous prints

Soft Summer Quilts in gorgeous prints

My stash of Summer accessories!

My stash of Summer accessories!

 

Soft Summer Quilts in gorgeous prints

Soft Summer Quilts in gorgeous prints

Nearly scraped this wallpaper off at Good Earth to carry home!

Nearly scraped this wallpaper off at Good Earth to carry home!

 

Soft Summer Quilts in gorgeous prints

Soft Summer Quilts in gorgeous prints

I was barely a minute home before I headed down South to GA to play Chef for a Farm to Table Dinner at The Martyn House in Ellijay GA. I fed chickens, picked veggies from the garden, swam in ponds, ran on wooded trails, noshed on peaches & roast corn and watched fireflies dance in the evening meadows while swinging on the back porch. You can take the girl out of the South…but ya can’t take the South of the girl.

42 Guests, 5 Courses all under a Gypsy Faire Tent

42 Guests, 5 Courses all under a Gypsy Faire Tent

 

Me playing farm hand. Wellies in the Garden

Me playing farm hand. Wellies in the Garden

 

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Back in the big city, it got a bit hot and having spent an afternoon laboring in and out of glamorous stores shopping for everything and nothing…I stopped being so Sex in the City and went back to being six in the Summer. Ice Cream and the sprinkles were a must as well as my new strappy sprinkly sandals.

Summer means Sprinkles & Sandals

Summer means Sprinkles & Sandals

Then there was day recovering from shopping on a breezy beach. 71428_10201766436743868_286364363_n That pretty much catches you up on the highlights of the Summer thus far. Its nice being back in Brooklyn after a hectic  June in India and the BIG road trip South in July. I took a long stroll with Ms. Sula (who misses the meadows and farm dogs) down to Red Hook last weekend to watch the cruise ships headed off to the Caribbean. It was a beautiful day and reminded of all the good things in my life and in my NYC. Some run away from the city in the Summer. I think it’s a magical time to be here.

Cruise Ship. Puffy Clouds. Sunshine. Sails. Smiles.

Cruise Ship. Puffy Clouds. Sunshine. Sails. Smiles.

Someone else is enjoying Summer too!

Rolling in the Green Grasses of Summer

Rolling in the Green Grasses of Summer

 

 

 

 

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